My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in The History of Brown County, Ohio published by W. H. Beers & Co. in 1883.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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ROBERT H. HIGGINS, Georgetown. There is no family in Brown County whose official relations to the county stand out with such prominence as those of the Higgins family. Col. Robert Higgins was a native of Virginia, and the owner of a large plantation on the South Branch of the Potomac River. He was a large dealer in cattle, driving them to the different Eastern markets. An incident is related of him: While participating in his periodical drives, he chanced to stop at a hotel, where he found a Guinea negro, strangely tattooed, chained to a pillar of the front porch. The owner wanted to sell the negro, and the price asked was $40. Col. Higgins examined the negro, found him perfect, in regard to physical condition, and asked the negro if he would like to become a laborer on his plantation. After surveying the Colonel from head to foot, the negro replied that, believing from his appearance, the Colonel was a humane and just master, he would be willing to enter his service. The Colonel immediately purchased the negro, who was of immense proportions, rather inclined to be vicious, and told him to assist in the drive. The negro did as requested, and after the Colonel had removed his chains, accompanied him home. He became a faithful servant. About this time the Revolutionary war commenced, and the Colonel became a Captain in the Virginia Volunteers of the Continental Line. Upon leaving home, he put the plantation and its inhabitants in the care of “Old Jack,” his new purchase, and started for the war. During the battle of Germantown, he was captured by the British, and confined on Long Island, New York Harbor, where he was kept imprisoned for three years and nine months. At the expiration of this time, the Colonel returned home, and found that “Old Jack “ had made an excellent manager and overseer. The plantation and buildings were in good shape, the crops large and well housed, and the servants in good condition. Also, during his absence, the Colonel’s wife had died, and “Old Jack “ was caring for the motherless children as only a beloved servant can. Col. Higgins subsequently removed to Kentucky, where he married Mary Jolliffe, a native of Winchester, Va., and where “Old Jack” proved his faithfulness till his death. The Colonel was possessor of a land grant in the present Brown County, and in 1798 settled on the present site of Higginsport, which place was named after him. “He was the only officer in Virginia who settled and occupied his own land grant in the State of Ohio.” (So says a good authority.) Col. Higgins resided at Higginsport until a few years before his death, when he removed to Georgetown, and there died in 1825. He left three children by his second wife—John J., Robert V. and Lydia. He had eight children by his first wife, but none of them settled in Brown County. Mrs. Higgins departed this life in 1866 or 1867. John J. Higgins, their eldest son, was born on the site of Higginsport, and there reared. He attended school at Augusta, Ky., and subsequently read law at Georgetown, where he located in 1822. He practiced his profession awhile, and afterward engaged in mercantile pursuits. In 1838, he was elected Sheriff of Brown County, and served two terms. He then removed to a farm in Clark Township, but in 1845 was chosen to represent Brown County in the State Legislature. In 1851, he was elected the first Probate Judge, under the new State Constitution, and died at Georgetown in 1857. He married Martha C. Heterick, of Winchester, Va. Mrs. Higgins died in July, 1880. Capt. Robert H. Higgins, the subject of this sketch, was the eldest of eleven children, seven of whom are living. He was reared in Georgetown, and in 1848-49 was an attendant at Hillsboro Academy. After leaving college, he read law with David G. Devore, and was admitted to the bar in May, 1854. The same year, he accompanied a friend to Kansas, where he soon after was appointed Clerk of the Territory of Kansas, under Gov. Reeder. He served in this position eighteen months, and then resigned. He returned to Georgetown, and opened a law office for practice. In 1857, he was elected Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas, of Brown County, and re-elected in 1860. In 1861, he raised Company D, of the Fifty-ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, was elected Captain, and accompanied them to the field. He served three years and one month in this position; was in command of the Regiment in East Tennessee, and the Atlanta campaign, and was honorably discharged November 1, 1864. He engaged in mercantile pursuits, and in 1866 was again elected Clerk of Common Pleas Court; re-elected successively in 1869 and 1872, and subsequently served as a clerk in the Adjutant Generals office, of Ohio, assisting in compiling the list of volunteer soldiers from Ohio to the late war, for publication. In 1881-82, he was book-keeper for a large firm in Cincinnati. Capt. Higgins is a member of the Odd Fellow and Masonic fraternities, and connected with Cincinnati Commandery, Knights Templars. He was married September 14, 1858, to M. B. M. Buckner, a native of Georgetown, and daughter of Philip J. Buckner, a prominent physician of Brown County. Mrs. Higgins’ mother was Sophia Hewitt, a native of Uniontown, Penn., born at the foot of the “Laurel Hills.” Eight children have been given Captain and Mrs. Higgins, six of whom survive — Henry B., Robert H., Laura B., M. Bessie, Beatrice and Sophia. Willie T. and Blanche are deceased. Mrs. Higgins is a member of the Presbyterian Church. She was educated at the Ohio Female College, of College Hill, and finished her studies at the Wesleyan Female College of Cincinnati, under the tuition of the eminent Prof. E. B. Wilbur.

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This family biography is one of 992 biographies included in The History of Brown County, Ohio published in 1883 by W. H. Beers & Co.  For the complete description, click here: Brown County, Ohio History and Genealogy

View additional Brown County, Ohio family biographies here: Brown County, Ohio Biographies

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